For many of my clients, mushrooms tend to be an afterthought; sweetly simmering in a marinara sauce or cozily nesting along a line of colorful veggie kabas. A recent study from the University of Western Australia has revealed that mushrooms may be a powerful player in reducing breast cancer risk!
A recent study published in the International Journal of Cancer followed over 2,000 Chinese women, and the results were impressive. Researchers reported that the women who ate the most mushrooms were about 64% less likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer compared to women who didn’t eat mushrooms. So I started wondering- how do these mighty mushrooms reduce breast cancer risk? Let’s find out!
Supports Glucose Control
Mushrooms are full of beta glucans, which are special carbohydrates that have been shown to decrease glycemic response – aka they help you avoid blood sugar ‘spikes’ that stimulate your body to increase production of insulin. Other dietary fibers in mushrooms also contribute to this blood-sugar leveling effect. This is clearly protective against diabetes, but some research suggests that foods with lower glycemic index (a measure of glycemic response) also reduce your risk of developing breast cancer!
Mushrooms have been shown to inhibit aromatase, an enzyme that produces estrogen. Estrogen exposure is a strong risk factor for breast cancer, since most breast cancer cells are sensitive to estrogen. So, increased mushroom consumption could protect against breast cancer by reducing the amount of estrogen your breast tissue is exposed to. Very few foods are aromatase-inhibitors – making mushrooms a fairly unique anticancer power food!
When it comes to reducing breast cancer risk, mushrooms deserve a place of honor. So, go ahead and add some mushrooms to the top of your grocery list! Some of my favorite mushrooms include crimini, white button, shiitake, oyster, portabella, and maitake – but you really can’t go wrong!
Need a recipe?
Try My Saucy Tomato and Mushroom Skewers
Makes: 18 skewers
Serving size: 3 skewers
Power Up! (Mix in with Dijon):